There was an article in the WSJ recently about the impact of sending emails on weekends to employees health. Many of us in corporate jobs would know the experience – receiving emails from your bosses, senior executives outside of working hours – which compel us to stop doing whatever we were at that time (or planning to) to get to work and reply to the email.
The problem has now become even more severe because we are constantly connected. Our personal and professional communication device is now one and the same. Even if one tries to, it is very difficult to completely eliminate checking in (or being made aware of) a message or email that has arrived in your work channel. And it takes an extremely strong-willed employee to say that I am not going to pay any attention to it.
But most employees aren’t like that. And therefore, in my opinion, leaders should ensure that they are not sending any emails out outside of normal working hours. Such behaviour is observed and will soon become the norm. The article spoke about an email tool developed by an organisation that diverts messages sent after a certain time to a queue and only releases it to the recipient’s inboxes at a more suitable time. I believe this should be adopted by all organisations. This way, people who like to work outside of the usual working hours can still do so as usual, knowing that any emails sent to team members are not going to interfere with their personal lives.
I believe that this also raises questions that organisations would find themselves grappling with more and more. With the inexorable rise of ‘gig’ economy workers and remote working, organisations are going to necessarily have to work with people remotely and working different hours to the standard ‘9-to-5’. It’s going to be vitally important that organisations are prepared with processes and policies to ensure maximum productivity from their globally distributed workforce.